Ggp Adds Mall, 7 Buildings In Area To Bankruptcy Filing

April 25, 2009|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,larry.carson@baltsun.com

General Growth Properties, the giant shopping mall and development firm that filed for bankruptcy protection last week, has added Baltimore's Mondawmin Mall and seven buildings in Columbia to the 158 centers listed in the Chapter 11 filing.

According to the Chicago-based company's Web site, the buildings that were added include one housing Clyde's Restaurant and the Columbia Association offices on the lakefront; the adjacent former Columbia Exhibit Center; a building occupied by a convenience store in Running Brook; and four older office buildings along Little Patuxent Parkway, including one occupied by That's Amore restaurant.

Company spokesman Jim Graham said the additions came separately because the filings were so complicated that not all the work was completed initially. The inclusion of the buildings should not disrupt their use, he said.

"We expect it to be business as usual at these properties," he said.

The initial filing included three high-rise office buildings near Broken Land Parkway, but it did not include The Mall in Columbia or other GGP-owned property slated to be part of a major redevelopment of Town Center with which the company is moving forward. Several of the older buildings added this week were to be part of the project, however.

In a statement issued via e-mail, Gregory Hamm, a GGP vice president and the general manager of Columbia, sought to reassure residents that the Chapter 11 filing does not mean liquidation. He also said it should not interfere with the county government's review of the redevelopment.

"The filing will not cause delay or alter GGP's pursuit of the public approvals relative to downtown Columbia. ... We believe that Columbia's underlying real estate fundamentals remain strong and that the plan can be realized once market conditions improve," Hamm said in the statement.

GGP owns more than 200 shopping centers in 44 states, as well as office buildings and several "master plan" communities such as Columbia. Locally, the firm also owns Harborplace, the Owings Mills and White Marsh malls and Towson Town Center.

Hamm said the filing was necessary to restructure the firm's debt. A GGP spokesman said no additions to the bankruptcy filings are expected.

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